Many, many feelings rush about me, through me and from within me every day. I would estimate that over ninety percent of them have positive attributes. The rest don’t matter. Recently, however, I have found myself face to face with a feeling I seldom encounter: helplessness.
Let’s admit it. Among all of God’s creatures born on this earth, we have got to be among the physically weakest. Large head on a spindly neck that cannot even support its weight. Uncoordinated limbs that take nearly a year or more to gain the wherewithal to work together to balance and walk. If farm animals were born so, they would have all perished and gone the way of the dinosaur many years ago. Human beings are born wimpy. We need help because we are helpless.
Most other creatures are born with instinct. What to eat to keep them healthy, where to go in the winter, how to hide, where to live, how to care for their old and how to care for their young. Where is the instinct in us humans? Born foolish, we spend our days seeking wisdom, for in the “know” lies the courage we need to tackle the many events of life with gusto and confidence.
Helplessness has come upon me as a grandmother. Our eldest grandson has recently taken ill. Blistering hives appear out of nowhere and cover him in misery. Fevers rise out of thin air to rest upon his brow and make his head hurt. It has been weeks now. Why? To what end? From where does it originate? What is the cause? All of a sudden? It is a mystery and one that brings this overwhelming feeling of powerlessness upon me.
I like to think I am pretty much in control of my environment. I know the basics about tools and can fix, or at least give a valiant attempt at fixing, just about anything from plumbing to electronics. I have picked up little bits and pieces of knowledge, mostly by trial and error, about all sorts of things over the years. I am confident in my abilities, not afraid to tackle the unknown and yet here I sit wringing my hands like an old mother hen as I have encountered something beyond my scope. A true enigma that cannot be fixed with duct tape and a screen door brace.
The medical profession explains to us how it does no good to see an allergy specialist and conduct tests unless he has been off prescription medication for a couple of weeks. And so he suffers. His mother, a strong and outspoken woman, has reared to his defense like a lioness protecting her young and, no matter the position of her claws, there is nothing yet to be done for him. She cries on the phone to me and there is naught I can do.
The wait is unbearable for us and I cannot even imagine how it feels to the 7-year-old dynamo who now lies in an isolated contagious disease shell in a strange castle, missing school and his friends. Strange people come in and out with masks and paper clothes. They speak kind words but have no solutions to the puzzle. This boy, who has gone to Sunday School now for over four years where he has been taught that God is good, is not seeing much of that now.
And the answer is going to be simple. We are all going to bop ourselves on the forehead and exclaim, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It is going to be as easy as avoiding “(blank).” Where is Dr. House when you need him?
So, helpless, I sit as a passenger on this ride pretending I am satisfied with remaining in my seat and letting someone else drive when it is burning me up to have a turn at the wheel myself. But Greta the Garmin refuses to speak directions to me; the windows are all hopelessly fogged over from the inside out and the fan on the defroster is out of order; it is raining so hard I can’t see a thing; the road is slippery and I am traveling uncharted territory. So I buckle up, trying to be supportive, and I wait.
We lean forward in our chairs, bow our heads and clasp our hands in prayer as we wait for the miracles of modern medicine to bless us with an answer. I know it’s not about me but I long for relief from this foreign feeling of being powerless. I bring out the dice and try to strike a wager with God that I would be satisfied with feeling this way if He could see fit to heal what ails our grandson.
I’ll hold the gate open and patiently wait for whatever comes next down the pike.
An answer or cure for our little man is what I would, please, really like.
Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, I’m Nancy Kraayenhof.